"Hang on, brother Nicholas!"
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made proposal to speaker of the country's parliament Juan Guaido to begin negotiations to overcome the current crisis. This proposal was made publicly, in Venezuela's leading media. Opposition still hasn't responded, but it seems that situation will develop in sedative scenario, and there won't be any further escalation. But it will happen only on one condition - opposition must agree to negotiations, and both sindes must be more or less sincere, and don't use negotiations for any treacherous plans. As Reuters reports, perhaps in order to avoid such event, Russia dispatched a special group to Caracas to ensure safety of Nicolas Maduro. This information wasn't properly confirmed or refuted. The West gave Venezuelan authorities a week to set the date of presidential elections.
Current situation is pretty difficult and seemingly uncompromising, so it may be hard to reach agreement on negotiations. After proclaiming himself the head of state, Juan Guaido, announced that he was ready to amnesty Maduro and members of his government, if he willingly resigned, without any resistance. In turn, Maduro made it clear that he didn't want bloodshed, and in order to avoid it, opponents should remember that they are dealing with elected president and legitimate government. President's confidence (he even called Guaido an “American puppet”) is supported by publicly shown loyalty of the military officials, although it does seems that there's some dissatisfaction, typical for middle-level officers of Latin American armies.
The problem, however, lies in the fact that opposition didn't consider Nicholas Maduro legitimate president of Venezuela, arguing that elections were held with deliberate and obvious violations. Survey data supports opposition's opining. It shows that current government turned about 60% of population of the republic against itself. However, somehow those who tried to predict rapid changes in Venezuelan political leadership seems to have been mistaken. Events are becoming stagnant, but situation should clear up in the next few days.
Mediation in the negotiations, if it will be necessary, was offered by Uruguay and Mexico, which, unlike most countries in the region, didn't rush to recognize Guaido as new legitimate leader of Venezuela. A little later, same proposal was made by a non-regional player - Russia.
Moscow’s interest in distant state is understandable. According to estimates of Reuters experts, over the past 12-15 years, Moscow has provided a total of $17 billion in loans to Caracas, not counting assistance in geological development, military construction, and so on. Most economists believe that Venezuela's debt cannot be returned. Yes, the country is rich with oil, but its economy is so inefficient, and corruption and other aggravating factors are so significant that, at best, a small part of this debt can be returned. But not now and not as a single sum.
China is in a more “curious” position, since its investments in Venezuela are three times or even four times higher. As a result, most analysts believe that any proposals at the UN Security Council level against Venezuelan authorities won't be adopted - Russia and China will block any of them, if they won't like them.
At the same time, analysts also wonder: should Moscow and Beijing really support Maduro, whose inefficient leadership brought the country to economic disaster? Maybe it's more profitable to give up on domestic political changes in Venezuela, keeping in mind new authorities, which will be able to curb long-term crisis, take economy out of current deadlock and make the state more profitable? It seems that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statement on external interference in Venezuelan affairs seems to reflect Moscow’s final choice.
The United States have also voiced their position previously. Washington was the first to recognize Juan Guaido as “legitimate leader of Venezuela,” after which unprecedented incident occurred. In response to Maduro’s statement on severance of diplomatic relations with the United States, Washington responded that it only recognizes Guaido, so American diplomats will continue to work in Caracas.
It's naive to present situation in Venezuela as another platform for clash of traditional antagonists - the United States and Russia - who aggravated mutual relations to the limit over the past five years. There are more players interested in current situation, although these countries that are the main ones.
Forbes analysts believe that with escalation of this conflict, fight for the Venezuela's main wealth - oil - will become even more active. No matter how much American and pro-American experts point to increase in oil production in the United States, its almost historical record highs didn't make Chevron and ExxonMobil's forget about Venezuela's Gulf oil fields, nationalized by Hugo Chavez. At the same time, US policy is aimed at continuing fragmentation of once informally united political space of Latin America. In this case, it's doing this by limiting Venezuela’s influence on Caribbean countries, that support Maduro regime in exchange for cheap oil.
And I must say, taking into account the ease, with which most of the regional countries recognized "new power" in Venezuela, Washington line is still effective. Brazil's support is especially important. The fact that largest state in South America may view Venezuela as its raw material storage, may create certain difficulties for the United States. But the outcome of this possible confrontation seems predetermined. Especially given the fact that Brazil is headed by Jair Bolsonaro, who proved time and time again that he's "Americanist." Right now the main goal is to deal with confrontation between Maduro and Guaido. But it's not that simple. Maduro's removal could plunge Venezuela into chaos, just like it happened in the countries of the East. Opposition is extremely divided, and it united only because of common disdain for Nicolas Maduro. Its unity will remain only until Maduro will go away. And it's not clear yet how will competition between his opponents end.
Events in Venezuela once again demonstrated interstate or even civilizational chasm in the world. On one side, there are the United States, Canada, the EU countries, leading states of South America, as well as Georgia — especially since Venezuela recognized independence of its former autonomies, and Tbilisi hopes its patron - Washington - won't forget the support it showed, as well as the fact that new regime will withdraw recognition of sovereignties of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. On the other - there are Russia, China, South Africa and Turkey, whose president Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his encouraging support to Nicholas Maduro: "Hang on, brother!"